Penn Hills Parents Air Frustrations At School Board Meeting

PENN HILLS (KDKA) — A bomb threat to Penn Hills High School led to a chaotic evacuation leading to several fights and some students were arrested.

The school district blamed students, but parents are pointing the finger at the school’s evacuation plan as the real problem.

Hundreds of students were taken to an indoor athletic center where fights broke out and police threatened to use tasers to get the crowd under control.

At the first school board meeting since the incident, parents praised police and the school bus drivers, but they were highly critical of school administrators for their handling of the situation.

“I am tired of coming here month after month, listening to excuse after excuse about, ‘We’re going to get it right,’” Jennifer Johnson, a parent, said. “Get it right now!”

“These are my children that you’re dealing with. These are your children,” she added. “This is ridiculous and you should all be ashamed of yourselves.”

School board members did apologize to the public and said they will have a new plan in place if something like this happens before the start of school.

  • tiredofcomplainers

    Hey Jennifer, what do you propose that they do. You are a typical loud mouth, wanting all the problems solved for yourself. How about for once when you show up for a meeting you have a solution for the nitwits that started all the problems.

    • kristy

      typical. the people who scream the loudest are usually the ones who do nothing to solve the problem.

    • steelcitygirl

      Hey, tiredofcomplainers & kristy, how about they take your child as a knee jerk reaction 1/2 hour after getting a bombthreat to the vicinity of the bomb threatened site, and place them in a building that holds 150 max and cram then lock your child in with 650 other scared, crying students? Oh, by the way, the fact that there was an emergency plan that was not followed, the administrators were not there and the children were then forced off of campus to walk home, some 6-10 miles with no sidewalks….throw in the fact there was no accounting of the names of the students crammed in, and serious delays finding and taking your child home, if your child was lucky enough to have a parent to get through the melee…all this while you believe that all is fine with the world because the school didn’t notify parents until 9:15 am The solution for the “nitwits” is simple, hire qualified people to do the job and eliminate the ones who don’t..the children in the fight totalled 6…the children in the center totalled over 600, do the math. I don’t know an adult crammed into a small space with tasers going off that would not have immediately gone into fight or flight mode….label the children all you want, it doesn’t justify the fact that had the plan been followed they wouldn’t have been there to fight. A plan in place prevents chaos….underwhelmingly educated, bandwagon jumping, armchair quarterbacking people shooting from the lip create the garbage here.

      • kristy

        steelcitygirl – these students aren’t elementary school kids. these are teenagers who know, or should know, better than to start fighting and making an already bad situation even worse. there’s no excuse for such juvenile, abhorrent behavior. teach your kids to respect other people. regarding your comment that you don’t know if an adult would’ve not reacted the same way: i guess the sort of people with whom you socialize would resort to such a low-class reaction. case closed.

      • Homercity

        Sorry Kristy, but you’re wrong. They shouldn’t have been there.

  • Johhny B

    If they didn’t take these kids inside the Fralic center Im sure these same people would have complained little Johnny was exposed to the elements , everybody is a Monday morning QB , I wish these people would back up the teachers and administration when their kids act like idiots , did you hear the lady say how quick they are to punish the kids LOL she will be on TV in a year or two saying how good her kid is and he never done nuttin wrong the police have the wrong guy PLEASE THESE KIDS ARE A REFLECTION OF WHAT THEY SEE AT HOME

    • kristy

      i agree 100%. parents never take responsibility for their little hoodlums.

  • John Thomas Fleischman

    I will back up the teachers every time. But not the administrators. Obviously they did not have a good evacuation plan in place. They are paid to make the policies and decisions, not the parents or simple taxpayers like me. I live close enough to the school to hit it with a golf ball so bomb threats worry me, real or not. Yes, they need to get it right next time.

  • bill

    ok so the school administrators provoked the outburst of fights….i get it

    • kristy

      yes, it was ALL the school’s fault. gimme a break.

  • italianbella412

    Stop arguing like children were all adults here everyone needs to stop pointing the finger everyone messed up everyone’s to blame people made mistakes all we can do is learn from them and move on. Enough is enough already..

  • FixPGH

    How is changing the evacuation plan going to keep the kids from fighting? What are you complaining about? There was a bomb threat, so they moved the kids. Are you upset that they were kept indoors or upset about the fight? Like a previous commenter said – you’d be mad if they were put outside. But what does the school evacuation plan have to do with the kids fighting?

  • Jenna

    This is simply a case of people complaining just to hear themself. In no way should parents be upset with the school they did what they could with the problem. They did not know kids would fight.. Stuff happens GET OVER IT!!!!!! Yinz should just be happy it was only a threat and not a real bomb

  • inside source

    Believe me the school dropped the ball on this one. There was a plan in place but it was not used because the places where the students were supposed to go are closed (william penn and shenandoah elementary schools). The school district is a complete mess, they do nothing but after the fact. Currently we are paying two superintendents

    • FixPGH

      Well if Pittsburgh residents cared more about their schools and kids actually went to school instead of running around causing trouble, maybe so many schools wouldn’t close down? But yes, if those schools are closed and supposed to be part of the plan, they need to redo the plan.

  • One small voice

    Wonder if the parents of the kids that caused the problems were at the meeting.

    • kristy

      that’s a good question. um, i guessin’ the answer’s a big fat “NO.”

      • Badmon3333

        Actually, yes, one man made an impassioned plea to the board to please not expel his son from school. If YOU had been at the meeting, instead of lobbing uninformed criticism from your living room, you’d know that.

  • kristy

    did any of these wonderful parents give any explanations as to why their little darlings felt the need to start fighting? it seems like everyone’s to blame here. these people need to quit pointing the finger at everyone else and be held accountable for the way that they parent (yes, “parent” is also a verb, folks) their little angels.

  • paulyG

    Love to see that white trash Erin Vecchio getting airtime…typical yinzer with attitude trying to get that mug on tv… She need to be on Jerry Springer with her mafia son….

  • SpikeJonez

    Erin Vecchio for yinzes piksburg stiller cherleader

  • Rick Hatcher

    Kristy, Jenna, tired of complainers, and the rest of you backing up Penn Hills High School… Do you even have kids that go to penn hills? 2nd, do you attend the school board meetings?NO, my cousin attends every single meeting and speaks her mind and in response gets results, You cowards type it online. If your just watching the news, then your only seeing 5% of whats really going on. But thats typical, you guys probably dont vote either. As far as saying “hoodlums”, go ahead and say the word you really want to say Johnny B. I dont have kids, but i guarantee you i know more about what goes on @ those meetings than you do. No fake names here, My name is Richard Hatcher and I believe in everything I type here. You cannot fault a mother such as Jennifer Johnson for wanting the best for her children and yours.

    • Rick Hatcher

      Correction, As far as saying “hoodlums”, go ahead and say the word you really want to say Kristy.

  • Jennifer Burgess-Johnson

    I am Jennifer Burgess-Johnson, the “loudmouth” referred to in this thread. I am always amazed at the voices from the shadows in these on-line posts. This issue, this soundbite that is being used to justify calling the children names such as hoodlums, animals, savages-calling residents speaking at this meeting white trash, this is nothing less than pitiful. You are cowardly, hiding behind a computer to call names, mask your hatred and obvious issues with race or anyone that uses their voice to express frustration.
    This was not a race issue, or a parenting issue, this was the systemic failure of the existing administration to communicate effectively with each other and ultimately the parents of these children. Yes, CHILDREN. The revelation that there was no viable plan in place to keep the children safe in an emergency situation, an emergency that was not created by a child or parent of the district. The media has focused so closely on the actions of a very few, they lost site of the fact that the large majority helped, aided and followed the instructions of the the teachers there. While hindsight is 20/20, the children should have never been crowded into a facility not capable or prepared to hold them for 5 minutes let alone 1 1/2 hours.
    You want a focus for blame? Look to the lack of administration of the emergency plan and the lack of rational thinking to transport children already on buses to a safer, more secure and more supervised location. This is the most recent in a series of failures from the current administration. I am hopeful the new superintendant will have more focus, more determination and more ability to lead than what Penn Hills has now. All of the children deserve it, there are stellar minds here at thess schools, exceptional athletes and wonderful children wanting to learn every day, despite what the small minds on a 3 day old thread think.

  • Dani

    Funny how it got so quiet after Jennifer made a comment…and Richard we do know what “hoodlums” is in place of!!!…tiredofcomplainers….REALLY!!!…and the comment about Erin Vecchio..dont know the lady but it was totally out of line!!! SORRY WE ACTUALLY CARE ABOUT OUR KIDS..I DONT KNOW ANY PARENT THAT WOULD NOT BE UPSET THAT THEIR CHILD/CHILDREN COULDVE BEEN KILLED..the school gets a bomb threat and threats that students will be shot as they show up and their turned away to WALK home!!!..WAY TO GO!!..

  • kristy

    no, dani, people just moved on from this article and from jennifer’s tiresome outbursts. ho hum. next . . . ?

  • Dani clearly didnt read my comment…you guys are more concerned with Jennifer and the kids(or as you call them (“little angels” fighting THAN HOW THE SITUATION WAS HANDLE…THATS THE PROBLEM HERE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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